Indictment handed down in connection with church bombing in Beaumont

Indictment handed down in connection with church bombing in Beaumont
Jonathan Matthew Torres (Source: Jefferson County Sheriff's Office)

BEAUMONT, Texas (AP) - A Beaumont man was indicted in federal court Wednesday in connection with a church bombing in Beaumont.

Jonathan Matthew Torres, 40, is charged with use of an explosive to damage property, possession of an unregistered destructive device, and mailing a threatening communication.

U.S. Attorney Joseph D. Brown said that according to information presented in federal court, an explosion occurred at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church on Delaware Street in Beaumont on May 10.  St. Stephen's administration building was damaged but there were no injuries. A "homemade destructive device" was also found inside a U.S. Postal Service priority mail service box at a Starbucks on Dowlen Road in Beaumont on April 28.

Brown said that an extensive investigation led law enforcement to search Torres' home on El Paso Street on May 24.

"Inside the residence, investigators  recovered multiple containers of the same type of explosive material used in both previously discussed devices; postal boxes similar to the boxes used in the previously discussed devices; a receipt for the purchase of the type of string used in the device found at Starbucks; zip-ties similar to the type used in the device found at Starbucks; packing tape similar to the type used in the device found at Starbucks; and other components consistent with the devices," Brown said.

Torres was arrested without incident and remains in custody.

If convicted, Torres faces a minimum of five years and up to 20 years in federal prison.

Brown asked anyone with information about the incidents to call Beaumont Crime Stoppers at 409-833-TIPS (8477) or 1-800-CALL-FBI.

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